Background: Bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) is a worldwide pathogen in cattle and acts as a surrogate model for hepatitis C virus (HCV). One-step real-time fluorogenic quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay based on SYBR Green I dye has not been established for BVDV detection. This study aims to develop a quantitative one-step RT-PCR assay to detect BVDV type-1 in cell culture. Results: One-step quantitative SYBR Green I RT-PCR was developed by amplifying cDNA template from viral RNA and using in vitro transcribed BVDV RNA to establish a standard curve. The assay had a detection limit as low as 100 copies/ml of BVDV RNA, a reaction efficiency of 103.2%, a correlation coefficient (R2) of 0.995, and a maximum intra-assay CV of 2.63%. It was 10-fold more sensitive than conventional RT-PCR and can quantitatively detect BVDV RNA levels from 10-fold serial dilutions of titrated viruses containing a titer from 10-1 to 10-5 TCID50, without non-specific amplification. Melting curve analysis showed no primer-dimers and non-specific products. Conclusions: The one-step SYBR Green I RT-PCR is specific, sensitive and reproducible for the quantification of BVDV in cell culture. This one-step SYBR Green I RT-PCR strategy may be further optimized as a reliable assay for diagnosing and monitoring BVDV infection in animals. It may also be applied to evaluate candidate agents against HCV using BVDV cell culture model.